Fall repotting of a Chojubai Quince

If you haven’t seen a chojubai Quince in person, their tiny scale may come as a surprise.  Leaves are the size of Chinese elm, even Seiju elm.  They grow strongly in the summer, and always seem to have a few flowers opening.  In the fall, the flower production really picks up and adds some nice color to the bench:

This summer, I noticed this one was becoming a bit anemic, with pale foliage and weak growth.  They always seem to slow down vegetative growth in mid summer, but this one started to concern me:

As I thought back, I couldn’t remember repotting it since at least 2014.  Michael Hagedorn recommends fall repotting for Chojubai, and while I do not like fall repotting, he really knows his stuff, so I thought I’d give it a try.  In late September, I combed out the soil, pruned the roots back by a third and replaced the soil, using akadama, lava, and pumice in equal proportions.

Before repotting:


And less than a month later, the color and vigor is already noticeably improved:

Pot quiz:  who made it?
Answer: Bigei.  Did you get it right?  His rich, chocolate, burnished clays are unmistakable.


Ilex Serrata

I bought 3 ilex serrata (Japanese Winterberry, or deciduous holly) from Brent back around 2009-2010 in 2 3/4″ pots.  They were the size of matchsticks if I recall.  They went in the ground, and over time I lost a couple, but managed to keep one going.  The earliest photo I could find was this one from 2013.

When we moved in 2015, I dug up everything in that bed, and this ilex went into a 16″ Anderson flat with minimal root work, to keep it growing strong:

2 growing seasons later, in summer 2017, here is how it looked:

I had a very specific vision for this tree, a fat little multi-trunked tree; somewhere around 18″ tall and 20″ wide; like these examples:

Lately, I have been dabbling into shohin-sized trees; 8″.  I want to keep both options open.  And since this variety is rare, I decided to layer the top as well.  In May, it appeared the layer was going to fail, but I left it in place.  In mid-June I moved the tree up to get a closer look and it seemed to be making some progress:

I scraped the white tissue back off the girdle to prevent bridging, and wrapped it back up.  Maybe it will work after all…

So instead of giving up and chopping, I did a little light pruning down low, and returned this one back to its growing site.  If I go the shohin route, the trunk definitely needs more taper than this currently has:

A few weeks after recutting the callus, the entire top died back, so the next step was defined.  In the spring, I’ll repot it and change the planting angle a little in hopes of creating a little movement.  Until next spring…

Pyracantha double trunk to single

Just about 4 months ago, this post chronicled the left half of this collected pyracantha dying over the course of a year or so, along with a virtual restyling.  Here is an update; the tree is only half-dead, and isn’t half bad.

The problem:

The plan:

And the progress.  While the wood ages into a dark gray color in time, I added some black ink to make it a bit easier on the eyes. This constant reminder was a little rough:

A few drops diluted into a teaspoon of water took that glare off nicely: